When Should You Start Studying For The CFA Level 1 Exam

The CFA Level I exam for candidates who wish to enter the investment industry, but may not have specific career goals in mind. It's a great way to get familiar with the financial markets and investment practices! You'll learn about the various types of investments, how they are managed, and how they are regulated. You'll also gain knowledge on investment accounting, risk management, and investment research. However, you're probably wondering how long it takes to pass the CFA Level I Exam? Well, according to the CFA Institute - it takes an average of 16 weeks to pass the CFA Level I Exam.

Not quite clear? We feel the same way.

The CFA has set up an exam that is as difficult as it can be for passing candidates and demands a lot of study. While the CFA Institute (CFAI) recommends a typical study schedule that involves 300 hours per exam level, many candidates wonder when to start studying.

When To Start Studying

It’s really up to you. Okay okay, hear us out!

We do recommend to start studying as soon as you can but it depends entirely on your unique circumstances. You may have work hours, family life or other responsibilities to manage alongside. On average, most candidates begin preparing for the CFA Exam 4 to 5 months before their exam date. While it's not advisable to start studying SO early that you burn out and lose interest, in general, the earlier you start, the better.

Make sure to set yourself up for success by creating a plan that you're going to stick to! That way, you'll succeed in your CFA Level 1 preparation. The key to success is not to study for a long time but to study well and to study efficiently.

A Closer Look

A Balance Between Work & Life:

As mentioned earlier, many CFA candidates balance work and family responsibilities while studying for the CFA exam. Early planning helps you to achieve your goals and responsibilities more easily. Making a schedule or a thorough study plan will make your prep THAT much easier.

Pacing Yourself:

It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. To make it in this certification, you must learn to pace yourself; don't work all day every day, because you're going to burn out if you do. You can choose to focus on a specific topic each week to help you prepare more effectively for your exams.

Don’t ever put yourself in a position where you have to rush and do a lot of things at once. Pace yourself so that you don’t burn out. This course structure allows you to study in bite-sized chunks, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the volume of material.

Settle Into a Routine:

It's important to not procrastinate. A lot easier said than done! BUT if you find yourself getting bogged down by all your responsibilities and not sure what to do next, get a study buddy to help you stay motivated and on track. As long as you stick to your study plan, you’ll have an easier time getting through your studies. We also suggest trying out the pomodoro technique - there's many resources that'll track your bite-sized study sessions for you!

Monitor Your Progress: 

An essential part of any educational program is the evaluation and monitoring of the student's progress. The longer you plan on spending preparing for CFA Level 1, the more you’ll be able to check your progress. And if you study with a CFA preparation program that has reporting features (ours does! ), you'll be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It's important to have an accurate way to measure your performance. With this performance monitoring software, you will know where to focus your efforts.

In Conclusion...

When it comes to the CFA Level 1 Exam, there's no right or wrong answer when you should start studying for it. For the most part, it depends on your circumstances and how much time you can take to study. However, the most recent Level 1 pass rate was 29%, which means it's difficult to pass the CFA Exam as it is. So you’ll need to put your best effort into studying and taking the exam.

So, whatever little or long you choose to study, make sure you pick a CFA prep course and study materials that give you the best possible chance of success.

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